Final Version of Kolab 3.0 Released
Today, the long awaited final version of Kolab 3 has been made available. Compared to the old 2.3.4 stable release, this brand new version of Kolab features a new modern webclient that integrates Roundcube instead of Horde. It integrates a lot better into existing user directory setups. Security as well as scalability has been greatly improved. It is now possible to scale all functional components of Kolab separately. Also, there is a new unified command line utility for administrative tasks.
Native Packages and Release Cycle
Kolab 3 dropped OpenPKG and can now be installed with native packages on Redhat Enterprise Linux, CentOS and Debian. OpenSUSE packages are also available, but still experimental and packages for Mageia are a work in progress. With native packages, Kolab is now seamlessly integrated into the rest of the system, can easily be upgraded and allows for a rolling release. This keeps updates fast, simple and makes sure everybody can benefit from latest fixes and new features without big complicated upgrade procedures. From Kolab 3.0 onwards, we are aiming for a six months release cycle, so you can expect Kolab 3.1 in Summer. Development is already in full swing.
The server components have been rewritten completely for the 3.0 release. Their code-base is easier to maintain and to contribute to. For example, all dependencies of old Horde code have been removed. The Kolab daemon now supports mail-flow monitoring, enforces recipient policies, quota and can be extended with Python modules. These modules can handle emails on the fly and could for example be used to add corporate footers or even do in-line translation of emails. Kolab now uses the 389 Directory Server by default, but still supports OpenLDAP. Also, the system that shows when users are free or busy without revealing their detailed calendars has undergone a rewrite and benefits from a more modern code-base.
Since version 2.3 Kolab uses on the ActiveSync protocol to connect mobile clients to its server. With Kolab 3.0 the new ActiveSync implementation Syncroton replaces the old Z-Push stack. That not only improves performance significantly, but also allows for more features and better integration. Authentication for example is now harmonized with other Kolab clients and also supports credential separation. This security feature allows for different authentication credentials on mobile devices. Should a device get lost, the mobile credentials can be revoked without compromising the main credentials. If you want to connect your Android device to your Kolab Server, you will find instructions in the wiki.
New Storage Format and Clients
The Open Standards Kolab uses to store its data are governed by the Kolab Enhancement Proposals. Over the years, several enhancements have been proposed and accepted which made an overhaul of the Kolab Format necessary. The new format saves calendar data in the xCal and contacts data in the xCard format. It removes ambiguity and makes the Kolab format future proof and extensible for future features. To ease transition to the new format an upgrade tool is provided. There is also a libkolab library with several language bindings that can read and write both formats. It can be used in Kolab clients to support the new format easily. An overview for clients supporting the new format is available in the wiki. The most popular clients such as Kontact and Thunderbird already support the new as well as the old format.
There is a new customizable web based administration front-end for the management of users, groups, resources, domains and roles. New mail domains and domain aliases can easily be added and user roles such as administrators and domain maintainers can be created and assigned. It is also possible to set role- or group-based plugins and settings for the Kolab web client and to enforce access policies for the Kolab server. All object types can be edited as well. Furthermore, an API is provided to access all functionality of the web administration panel. This way it is easy to integrate Kolab administration tasks into existing administration front-ends. A sample API client is included that can be used by webmail providers to sign up new Kolab users.
The Kolab Community is really happy that years of work have finally produced what we all have been waiting for so long: A stable new and shiny Kolab Server made of 100% Free Software to enable us all to manage our personal information on multiple devices and still own and control our data. A big thank you goes to everyone who contributed to make this possible.